In this Q&A Scott Cullather, president and CEO of INVNT Group, explains the reason for the seemingly counter-intuitive launch during a period of economic uncertainty.
INVNT was launched during the global recession in 2008, and now you’ve launched INVNT group during Covid-19. Why the decision that decision during uncertain times?
Uncertain times like a global recession or pandemic require that businesses across all industries, and of all shapes and sizes evolve, adapt, and pivot to stay afloat.
So, Kristina McCoobery and I – former INVNT chief operations officer and now chief exec, initially launched INVNT because we felt that our industry was starting to become a bit uninventive – something we knew we needed to shift away from at a time when challenging the status quo really was vital.
With INVNT group we wanted to diversify our offering in response to our clients' increased demand for services beyond our live physical and virtual experience offering, and we’d been working on our group strategy for two years before the outbreak of Covid-19.
As Covid-19 restrictions came into effect we encouraged clients not to go quiet on their audiences at a time when they need them most. We were compelled to practice what we preach and help our clients so they can continue to help theirs.
Instead of placing a firm halt on what we are calling the global brand story project – like others may have chosen to – we continued to push forward with it and expanded our offering – a move that has enabled us to pivot in more ways than one.
There are many holding companies out there. What makes the global brand story project unique?
While we’ve got a holding company in INVNT group now, we’re independent, and committed to remaining a ‘big small agency.’ Even though we might grow, we don’t ever want to confuse people with the inter-agency structures often found at larger holding companies. We’re focused on upholding our challenger mindset and providing a personalized level of service to clients at all times.
Are the different disciplines designed to work together, or are they completely independent? If the former, how do create teams for these projects? Are there separate P&Ls at play?
INVNT group has been structured so we can meet clients at all stages of the storytelling cycle. For example, a client could enlist the branded content services of HEVĒ only, or they might want to work on their master brand narrative with Folk Hero, and then go straight to INVNT to express their brand story in live environments, maybe enlisting the help of Meaning our creative culture consultancy along the way too.
We share resources and operate as one company when it’s right to do so. We’re able to cluster specialist services around the needs of our clients, cherry-picking the best talent for the brief and working as an integrated team.
Why have you called the INVNT group ‘the global brand story project’?
In basic terms it’s because the INVNT group is exactly that: a global brand story project. We don’t want to remain a static entity but evolve with the world around us and needs of our clients. Our focus is on constantly growing and expanding in ways that ensure our work is on point, on brand, constantly relevant, and therefore sticky.
What do you mean by ‘brand story'?
It’s the GROUP’s organizing principle and thread that connects our four brands. Each of the disciplines has storytelling at the core of their offering, so we created the term ‘brand story’ to describe our craft and central premise of the group.
What are your growth plans for the group?
We want to ensure our clients are able to meet and move their audiences when it matters most, so expanding our reach and offering are a primary focus. There are some more strategic acquisitions in the works which we plan to announce in the coming months.
What projects is the group working on?
While we only announced the group a few weeks ago, as we’ve been working on it for over two years, the first project that combined our services was the Genesis Mint Concept launch in New York last April.
We’ve also worked on – and continue to work on – a number of projects for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) one of INVNT’s longest standing clients. Our branded content studio, HEVĒ has partnered with SHRM on recent projects including their Navigating Covid-19 spot and the Tune in Tuesdays digital series, which launched on 14 July.
There are various other projects in the works right now, but I can’t reveal details of those just yet.